Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is considered by many people to be one of the greatest artists who ever lived. During his lifetime, he was famous for his artwork and skill as an engineer: since his death, he has become equally celebrated for his scientific knowledge and his inventions, many of which were hundreds of years ahead of their time.
Da Vinci lived during a period known as the Renaissance when there was a great explosion of learning in Europe. He is often called a “Renaissance Man”, meaning that he was knowledgeable and talented in many different areas.
Teach your children about the Leonardo da Vinco using our handy topic guide!
- Try this simple activity to make your own version of Vitruvian Man.
- This lesson plan from Crayola encourages children to think about why the Mona Lisa is smiling.
- Show the children this panoramic photo of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Why are there so many people there? Why is the painting behind glass? Would you like to visit? On the wall opposite the Mona Lisa is another of Leonardo’s famous paintings, The Wedding at Cana. Why are more people looking at the Mona Lisa than that picture? Which painting do you prefer?
- Build your own model of one of da Vinci’s inventions, such as his design for a parachute.
- Invent your own da Vinci machine.
- Use our fantastic pack of resources to learn more about Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo da Vinci Knowledge Organiser
Members of Teaching Packs can download a comprehensive knowledge organiser to accompany this topic. It includes key information that your children can use for reference and research, along with examples of his work, a timeline of his life and more.
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Leonardo da Vinci Facts
- Leonardo da Vinci got his name from his home town of Vinci, where he was born on the 15th of April 1542.
- Da Vinci left many of his works unfinished, including the Mona Lisa, which he never considered to be finished.
- It is thought that da Vinci wrote over 20,000 pages of notes, of which about 7,000 still survive.
- He used mirror writing in his notebooks.
- Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian.
Top 7 Leonardo da Vinci Inventions
This video gives information about some of Leonardo da Vinci’s amazing inventions and how he developed them.
Running time: 5:00
Leonardo da Vinci’s life in 3 minutes
A fantastic, short summary of da Vinci’s life and achievements.
Running time: 3:04
Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machines
This video gives information about da Vinci’s flying machines and how they worked.
Running time: 5:04
Da Vinci 500 years on
This short video explains how discoveries from more than 500 years ago have pioneered the way we live our lives even today.
Running time: 2:02
The Mona Lisa Song
Have you ever wondered what would happen If the portrait of the Mona Lisa came to life and started singing? Now you can find out!
Running time: 2:20
This book features twenty lavish spreads which highlight distinct periods and make the master’s art, jokes, explorations, and inventions wonderfully vivid and accessible.
The six magnificent pop-ups in this book recreate some of da Vinci’s marvellous inventions in 3D. Leonardo’s own words also help the reader understand these inventions and explore the world of science.
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